Hailed as one of the most beautiful and hospitable cities in America, Savannah’s the kind of place one needs to taste in person to understand what the fuss is all about. The photos are indeed striking, but it’s the evoking of all the senses that really makes the city pop as Southern dream come true – a true escape with fairy dust. From the moment you step onto the cobblestone streets under veils of Spanish moss, to the mansions and ghosts stories that entail, expect to be enchanted. As with any thriving destination, the scene has an added hipster dimension too, making for a delightful adult playground of restaurants, bars, boutiques (from retail to hotel), and entertainment. We dust off our walking shoes to uncover the best there is to explore in Savannah, Georgia.
Stay Chic at Thompson Savannah
The shiny new Thompson Savannah parks a touch of modern-day glamor beside Savannah’s Historic District. It’s close to all the action (just a stroll along the Savannah River, in fact), but its boudoirs are a quaint and tranquil retreat, a welcome respite for the tourist on foot amongst other modes of transport. Here, you’ll find 193 guestrooms including 21 suites, some have cityscape views, others have waterfront views, equally observed via floor-to-ceiling windows on silky velvet chaise lounger. The waterfront corner rooms are our preference for a lake house feel, generous with natural Georgian sunlight. Thompson loyalists will enjoy the familiar caramel noir decor that slots together seamlessly, of course, infused with exclusive local honors such as botanical patterns and curated art pieces. Select from nighttime ingredients such as D.S & Durga pampered rainfall shower, Hulu winddown, nightcap in a slide-open mini-bar, or milk & cookie service, before drifting off on custom 400-thread count Sferra linens.
Picnic at Forsyth Park
Easily the greatest city for green spaces, there’s pretty much a park every couple of blocks along with the treasure hunt of historical gems. Forsyth Park is Savannah’s largest and oldest public offering, spanning over 30 acres. The star is its 1858 fountain, a spot for many proposals and celebratory photo shoots, but that’s just the beginning. Weekends come alive with farmers’ markets, ball games, and free concerts, and any day of the week is optimal for picnicking. Pop into The Sentient Bean for coffees and treats, or go all-out and do a luxury Petrossian Picnic in the Park. Whatever’s in the basket, know that Forsyth Parks shady trees and well-kept lawns welcome all.
Everybody knows that when venturing south, the food is finger-licking good, and Savannah is no exception. City Market offers casual daytime fun amidst exploring, while the Starland Yard is Savannah’s answer to Brooklyn’s uber-hip Time Out Market. It’s home to Pizzeria Vittoria, a Neapolitan-inspired joint from superstar chef Kyle Jacovino, who uses local, organic grains, fermented for up to 48 hours and fired in a specialized brick oven for the finest dough in town. Expect a soft crust, with the right amount of chew every time. The toppings are all sumptuous, but try anything with his Calabrian chilies and we guarantee some mind-blowing – in a good way. For an elegant occasion, venture back to the shade of Thompson where two swanky hangouts lie. Bar Julian is the sunset extravaganza on the rooftop, paired with Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and cocktails galore. There’s no going wrong with spreads like Sea Island Red Pea Hummus and Whipped Feta (accentuated by mint, spices, and green harissa), and a fruity Georgia Julep concoction. Finally, delicious and inviting Southern belle sharpened, Fleeting is Chef Rob Newton’s dining destination that’s tempting to stay at all day; from biscuits & gravy at 8 am to grilled oysters at 8 pm.
Do a Ghost Tour…in a Hearse
Voted the most haunted city in all of America, it’d be a shame to miss out on one of the many ghost tour options available no matter what level of fright factor. Hearse Ghost Ride Tours checks all our boxes in terms of creativity, information and above all, fun (the tour is actually more entertaining than serious) and guests are even welcome to bring their own alcohol in a plastic or styrofoam container. The whole thing takes place in a real, disused hearse, with the rollers still intact, so bring the ‘ride or die’ for an unforgettable experience.
For those still spooked by that idea, then other ways to explore Savannah’s chilling history include a visit to the Bonaventure Cemetery, one of the worlds most beautiful, or one of the many haunted pub/bar crawls – some say the best way to see spirits is to drink spirits!
Step back in time
What sets Savannah apart from other US cities is walkability. With so many historical marvels densely stacked side by side, picture-perfect streets at every turn, quirky little boutiques, and parks woven in (best enjoyed with Leopold’s Ice Cream); sightseeing on foot is comparable to a stroll around many a historic European city. So clear the entire day to step back in time to the legendary mansions, museums, and landmarks, and gain a deeper understanding of this fascinating destination. Suggestions include the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, the American Prohibition Museum, Telfair Academy, and The Andrew Low House, but there are many more options to add to the itinerary. Check Visit Savannah for the most up-to-date information.
| Main Image Forsyth Park, Courtesy of Visit Savannah.